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Listed on Section 14, Schedule 9, Part II of the Wildlife & Countryside Act, 1981

Some of the Cotoneaster species are included within the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Section 14, Schedule 9 as a controlled plant species.

It is illegal to knowingly sell or cause the plant to spread to the wild. Under the Environment Protection Act 1990 the plant material (i.e. flowers, leaves, stems, roots, rhizome, tubers or seeds as applicable) and waste containing them is classed as controlled waste when removed from the site. It is illegal to dispose of controlled waste other than being transported by a registered waste carrier and disposed of at a specially licensed waste disposal facility.


Legislation which attempts to control the spread of specific Cotoneaster species includes Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which makes it illegal to distribute or allow the spread of Cotoneaster species into the wild.

It is recommended that this plant is controlled or eradicated, and you have a duty of care to prevent its spread from your property. You must handle and dispose of the plant in accordance with strict guidelines and legislation. Contact us, we can help.

Help - Cotoneaster Treatment & Survey Specialists

Japanese Knotweed Ltd is an experienced contractor in the surveying and remediation of invasive non-native plant species and Cotoneaster treatment. We will survey a site and establish the best method/price for control or eradication in accordance with the client’s requirements. Works are expertly undertaken by trained and certified operational staff, with all works fully recorded. By contacting us you benefit from:

If you suspect you have an invasive non-native species but are unsure, please send photos of the plant to for free identification.

Cotoneasters Identification

Cotoneaster berries
Cotoneaster berries
Cotoneaster leaves
Cotoneaster leaves
Cotoneaster in winter
Cotoneaster in winter

About - Cotoneaster

Common Name Scientific Name England & Wales
Cotoneaster, wall Cotoneaster horizontalis
Cotoneaster, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster integrifolius
Cotoneaster, Himalayan Cotoneaster simonsii
Cotoneaster, Hollyberry Cotoneaster bullatus
Cotoneaster, Small-leaved Cotoneaster microphyllus

Cotoneaster species are native to Eastern Asia and were first introduced to the UK in 1824 as ornamental plants. The seeds are spread by birds; therefore, the plants can easily spread to a wide area. Key features include:

Dangers - Cotoneasters

Once Cotoneaster is established, it can dominate areas – out-competing native flora and creating dense thickets. When plants spread into the wild, they are particularly problematic on limestone cliffs, pavements and screes, through out-competing rare native plant species. They can also form an extensive root system which is difficult to remove.

As previously mentioned, Cotoneaster is included within the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Section 14, listed on Schedule 9 as a controlled plant species.

Cotoneasters UK

Cotoneaster is becoming increasingly naturalised due to birds which eat the small bright red berries and spread the seed in the early summer. There is one native species, wild Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster cambricus) which occurs in North Wales.

Himalayan Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster simonsii) is an erect deciduous shrub 3-4 metres high with 1.5-2.5 cm long leaves. Small-leaved Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster microphyllus) is a semi-evergreen low-growing shrub with very small deep-green leaves (0.5-0.8cm long). Both of these species have leaves which are shiny and hairless on the upper surface and slightly hairy on the lower surface. Cotoneaster species do not have thorns.

Wall Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis) is the most widely recorded species and has distinctive horizontally-spread leaves in flattened herring-bone like branches and bears single white flowers. Unlike the other Cotoneasters mentioned, the underside of leaves of this species are relatively hairless.

Cotoneasters have been in cultivation in England and Wales since 1824 and there are over 100 species now widely cultivated in the UK. Other species could also become naturalised.

Plants Mistaken for Cotoneaster

Firethorn, non-native (Pyracantha coccinea) - A shrub with small serrated leaves that alternate along the stem, which has long thorns.

Wilson’s honeysuckle, non-native (Lonicera nitida) - Similar to the small leaved cotoneasters, leaves opposite, not alternate.

Aromatic wintergreens, non-native (Gaultheria species) - An evergreen shrub with alternate leaves and bell-shaped flowers, unlike the five petalled flowers of cotoneasters.

Escallonia, non-native (Escallonia macrantha) - An evergreen shrub which has alternate serrated leaves and numerous pinkish-red flowers, no thorns.

Barberry, non-native, but naturalised (Berberis vulgaris) - A thorny shrub with small serrated leaves, yellow flowers and red lozenge-shaped berries.

Sea buckthorn, native to sand dunes along the east coast of England, (Hippophae rhamnoides) - A thorny densely branched shrub with alternate long thin leaves with bright orange berries on female plants.

Giant hogweed

NB: If no target invasive weed is found on the property a charge of £165 plus VAT will apply.
*If the area to be surveyed is greater than 1 acre we reserve the right to apply a charge to carry out the survey. For the Isle of Man or Isle of Wight charges may apply. Price on request.

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